By Mary Kamande
Many people who have encountered an angry hippo have not lived to share their experience. The animal is so vicious that it often leaves its victims only after finishing the job of annihilation.
However, recently a miracle happened and John Gathuru escaped from the animal’s grip of death.
“It was hell, I stared death in the face but thanks to God, I am alive to tell my story,” says Gathuru, a pastor.
The Standard found Gathuru recuperating at his home in Gichiiki village, in Kilimambogo, Thika East District, last month, after spending more than two months in hospital.
On the fateful day in April, Gathuru and his wife, Magdalene Wambeu, had attended a mid-week fellowship at their church in Makutano, but his wife left him behind chatting with a friend.
Before parting, his friend had offered him his motorbike to hurry home but since it was still early, the pastor says he declined the offer and opted to walk the short distance home.
Nothing to worry about
“It was about 6:45pm and not yet dark so as far as I was concerned there was nothing to worry about.”
As he walked to his home, which is behind the Kilimambogo Teachers’ Training College, the evening was calm and the normal sounds of nature welcomed the impending night.
Then the grunts of a hippo disrupted this pattern of nature’s song for nightfall.
“I had not expected it. Out of the blues, I saw it charge at me with its gigantic mouth wide open. For a moment I was paralysed with fear. I couldn’t find my feet! Then I remembered I was carrying charcoal in a small paper bag and seeing it charge at me ferociously, I reasoned that I could save myself by hurling the charcoal into its mouth” he says.
And hurl the charcoal into the beast’s mouth he did, and for a moment, the beast believed it had bitten its victim.